Shine On – meet the nominees – Hoopers Village Mart

St. Stephen – COVID-19 left a lot of people unable to go shopping for groceries and other essential items, especially those who live in Milltown. But, that all changed when Greg Hooper took over the former Milltown Irving.

Now, Hooper’s Village Market serves the residents of Milltown, and everyone in St. Stephen, and Hooper said he has done his best to keep prices as low as possible during these tough times. Because the Village Market has taken steps to help customers during this time, the store has been nominated for The Saint Croix Courier Shine On award.

“We put on a lot of specials because we knew financially it was hard times for some families,” said Hooper. “We lowered our prices on some stuff and offered better deals just to try to help out where we could. It’s a small community. We all have to stick together in a time of need.”

Hooper said he and his staff have been taking care to follow all of the protocols as recommended by the Province of New Brunswick. They are encouraging social distancing among customers. Plexiglass was installed, for the safety of both the customers and staff members. Hooper said they also have a hand sanitizing station and encourage customers to use it when entering the store.

“Well, we took all of the precautions, for sure. We tried to give our customers the best service we could throughout this ordeal.”

The market, which opened up back in November, has been an asset to the community, enabling those without transportation to be able to get the grocery items they need in order to feed their families. Hooper said the take-out is now open, and as of Thursday, chicken will be available. He said he hoped to have pizza available by the weekend.

“We just opened that (take-out) up a couple of days ago,” said Hooper. “So far, so good. There’s been a couple of little bumps in the road, but it’s been doing very very well. If everything goes good, we’re supposed to have chicken on the menu today. Pizza probably Saturday we’re hoping.”

Hooper was very pleased to find out his store had been nominated for a Shine On award. He said the support in the area has been amazing, and is pleased he has been able to help people in the community.

“Thanks a lot. I honestly can’t believe the support we have had from the citizens from Milltown and St. Stephen. It’s been overwhelming, really, it has. They’ve been so, so supportive.”